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Coin Rarities & Related Topics: News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #289

A Weekly CoinWeek Column by Greg Reynolds….

Stack’s Bowers and Heritage Auctions are both conducting official auctions this month at the summer ANA convention, which will be held the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois, very close to O’Hare airport. The Stack’s Bowers Rarities Night session will be conducted on Thursday, August 13. Hundreds of copper, nickel, silver and gold rarities, dating from the 1600s to the middle of the 20th century, will be auctioned.

1865proofThis event will be best remembered for various significant U.S. silver coins, an extensive offering of Carson City (Nevada) Mint coins, and “The Georgia Peach Collection” of quarter eagles ($2½  gold coins) that were struck in Dahlonega, Georgia. Coins discussed here are selected for reasons relating to rarity, quality, newsworthiness, historical significance and/or curiosity.

And while there are many worthwhile coins that are not being mentioned, it is not practical to discuss a large number of coins here. But know that beginning, intermediate and advanced collectors may benefit by participating in this auction, for various reasons.

There will be offered two naturally colorful Proof Liberty Seated silver dollars that are suitable for affluent beginners. They are impressive, large coins from the 1860s. The 1865 is of the ‘No Motto’ design type and the 1868 is of the ‘With Motto’ type.

Although Proof 1865 Liberty Seated silver dollars are not particularly rare, the one in this auction is particularly memorable. Green hues along with tints of blue, russet and yellow are really cool.

1868proofIn the 1860s, Proof sets were often distributed in cases with wooden exteriors and plush interiors with tabs to lessen the movement of the coins. During the early 1990s, Jay Parrino had a few original Proof sets dating from the 1860s. I thank Jay for the opportunity to carefully inspect them and note toning patterns.

This 1865 silver dollar has toned naturally, in my opinion. It is PCGC certified as ‘Proof-65-Cameo’ and is CAC approved.  This coin is very entertaining.

The 1868 is multi-colored and cool, too. It is PCGS certified as “Proof-65+” and CAC approved. While advanced collectors may seek these two Proof Liberty Seated silver dollars for type sets, for people who do not yet know much about classic U.S. coins, these would be great conversation pieces, perhaps items to show guests at a dinner party.

 

1838-O Half Dime

In 1838, U.S. Branch Mints were established in Charlotte, Dahlonega and New Orleans. Coins struck at these mints bore mint marks to inform of the facility of their manufacture. Coins struck at Charlotte carried a “C”. Consort struck in Dahlonega carried a “D” (Today’s “D” mint mark is associated with the Denver Mint). And New Orleans coins carried the “O” mint mark.

Two weeks ago, the Garrett-Kaselitz 1838-O dime was the focus of a discussion. Half dimes were minted in New Orleans in 1838, too. The one in this auction is PCGS graded MS-64 and CAC approved. This coin scores highly in the category of originality, has pleasant toning, has minimal contact marks, and is very desirable overall. It is of the Liberty Seated, No Stars design type.

Proof 1856 half dimes are rare. The PCGS CoinFacts “survival estimate” of “40” seems too high. The one in this auction has appealing natural toning. It is PCGS graded 65 and CAC approved.

Dimes

The 1804 is the key to the short series of Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle dimes. The fame of 1804 silver dollars, which were not really struck in 1804, has resulted in increased interest in other coins dated 1804, most of which were really struck in 1804.

1804dimeThe 1804 dime in this auction has a 13-star reverse, which is not quite as rare as the 1804 with a 14-star reverse. Each is extremely rare.

This 1804 is PCGS graded VF-35 and CAC approved. The tones are mostly green, with grays and russet-brown. The toning is well blended and apparently stable. Although there are some minor imperfections, including prickly contact marks about the stars and upper eagle on the reverse, there is no evidence of a past dipping or significant cleaning. Certainly, this is a likable coin that most interested collectors would enjoy owning.

This exact same 1804 dime was auctioned by Heritage in January 2015 for $22,325. It was then in a PCGS holder with an ‘old green label’ and did not have a CAC sticker.

In this auction, there is a PCGS graded, and CAC approved, MS-66 1837 dime, which is of the short-lived, Liberty Seated, No Stars, design type, as is the recently discussed Garrett-Kaselitz 1838-O dime. Though this 1837 does not have as much eye appeal as some other Liberty Seated dimes that are certified as grading MS-66, it scores highly in the originality and technical categories. There are no distracting marks on this coin.

It is not often perceived that 1840-O ‘No Drapery’ Liberty Seated dimes are rare, in all grades. It is also not often perceived that the portrait of Miss Liberty on ‘No Drapery’ dimes is significantly different, in an artistic sense, from the portrait on the Liberty Seated, with stars and drapery, type that followed, later in 1840.

The PCGS graded MS-63, and CAC approved, 1840-O ‘No Drapery’ dime in this auction is in the condition ranking for this issue. After having been moderately dipped long ago, this coin has been naturally retoning nicely and has few imperfections.

One of the finest known 1908 Philadelphia Mint Barber dimes is noteworthy. There are probably only around twenty-five different 1908 business strikes that grade MS-66 or -67. This is another coin that appears much more attractive in actuality than it appears to be in the catalogue. It is really not a good idea to rely upon images to interpret coins.

This 1908 dime was formerly in the Eugene Gardner Collection. When it was last auctioned on October 27, 2014, it was NGC graded MS-67 and CAC approved. It is now PCGS graded as MS-67. The $5581.25 result in October is consistent with my grade of the coin as being in the MS-67 range, though not quite in the middle of this range, 67.3 perhaps. This coin is lively and the natural green tones on the obverse are pretty. It is not, though, nearly as stunning as many MS-67 grade Barber coins. Even so, it is superb and a great coin overall.

Quarters

While I have examined the vast majority of the pre-1857 Proof Liberty Seated coins in existence, I had never seen the Proof 1848 quarter in this auction, which is certainly a highlight. It was recently sold by Heritage for $39,950 and Heritage cataloguers could not find a “prior appearance” of this coin.

This 1848 is PCGS certified as “Proof-65+ Cameo” and it is CAC approved. The published pictures of this coin are not indicative of its attractiveness. It is dynamic and flashy!

The 1853 ‘No Arrows’ business strike quarter has wonderful, natural toning. Previously, it appeared in a Heritage auction in Pittsburgh during 2011. It was then NGC graded MS-67 and CAC approved. It is now PCGS graded as MS-67 as well; it ‘crossed.’ The coin’s colors appear far more pleasing in actuality than they appear to be in published images.

To collectors and young dealers who have the time to attend lot viewing sessions, it may be a good idea to view coins without initially consulting the catalogue and while briefly covering the labels in the PCGS or NGC holders. It is important to keep in mind that no individual or grading service can be perfectly consistent and even the greatest batters of all time ‘struck out’ on occasion.

1856squarter

Also, the same grading service may assign different grades to the same coin on different occasions. There are dealers who resubmit the same coins over and over again with the idea of eventually receiving higher grades. Collectors with a natural aptitude for grading may learn a great deal by viewing many coins and carefully thinking about them.

As 1853 ‘Arrows & Rays’ quarters are one-year type coins, 1853 ‘No Arrows’ quarters tend to be overshadowed and are not fully respected. The 1853 ‘No Arrows’ quarter in this auction should command much attention. These are sometimes treated, though, like typical ‘No Motto’ quarters, despite the reality that 1853 ‘No Arrows’ quarters are truly rare in all grades.

The 1856-S quarter is also truly rare in all grades, perhaps very rare. There are two ‘mint state’ pieces in this auction. The first is one of the most attractive 62 grade silver coins that I have ever seen. Furthermore, while many PCGS or NGC graded MS-62 coins are not strictly uncirculated, this one is so. Groups of contact marks in the reverse fields, and a few abrasions on the obverse, prevent consideration of a much higher grade. It is PCGS graded MS-62, CAC approved, naturally toned, and one of the more pleasing coins in this sale.

The second 1856-S is PCGS graded MS-61 and CAC approved. It was moderately to heavily dipped, and probably had a ‘washed out’ appearance before it began to naturally retone. The pale blue color and touches of russet are appealing. Some medium scratches are a bit annoying, though it is not unusual for a MS-61 grade coin to have readily apparent issues. The just mentioned MS-62 grade 1856-S is much more desirable, though this is a credible coin that would certainly fit well into a set of high grade, Liberty Seated quarters.

A PCGS graded MS-64 1916 Standing Liberty quarter almost has a full head and is noteworthy. The 1916 is the most demanded issue in the series.

Key 1802 Half Dollar

The 1801 and the 1802 are keys to the series of Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle half dollars. Recently, I devoted an article to the 1801, and the 1802 is even more elusive in grades above AU-55! The 1802 in this auction is PCGS graded AU-58. This is one of two certified AU-58 grade 1802 halves that are CAC approved and none are CAC approved at a higher level.

On the obverse, green outer fields contrast well with creamy russet inner fields. Tan patches here and there, and touches of orange-russet, blend nicely. The toning on the reverse is hard to explain. This coin is distinctive and very newsworthy. Bust halves are extremely popular.

Carson City Mint Coins

Surprisingly, a Branch U.S. Mint was established in Carson City, Nevada, which was never a major city. The surrounding area was sparsely populated. Coins were produced there from 1870 to 1893, though not in every year along the way. These are among the most popular of all classic U.S. coins. They are part of the mystique of the ‘Wild West.’ Moreover, CC Mint coins relate to the rapid economic and population growth of the United States during the late 19th century. There are only 111 Carson City Mint issues in total.

1873ccdimeLouis Eliasberg, the Battle Born Collection owner, Waldo Newcomer, and maybe H. O. Granberg owned representatives of all 111, including the unique 1873-CC ‘No Arrows’ dime. There are many collectors who specialize in Carson City Mint coins and there is an unusually large offering of these in this auction, many of which are in the consignment of “The Genoa Mill Collection.”

The 1871-CC is a semi-key in the series of Liberty Seated Dimes. It is very rare in all grades and only a handful have received ‘mint state’ grades from PCGS or NGC. The NGC graded MS-61 coin in this auction is strictly uncirculated. There are some small gashes and plenty of hairlines, though no one expects a MS-61 grade coin to be nearly flawless.

Generally, CC Mint silver coins that date from 1870 to 1874 are rare or very scarce. There are no 1874-CC quarters. In this auction, there are 1870-CC, 1871-CC, and 1872-CC quarters. There is an 1873-CC ‘With Arrows,’ though not an 1873-CC ‘No Arrows’ quarter, which is a Great Rarity. It is recommended that prospective bidders employ experts to inspect these, as they have notable imperfections. Certainly, however, they are demanded by a large number of serious collectors.

The “Genoa Mill Collection” 1873-CC ‘No Arrows’ half dollar is PCGS graded MS-61. This coin is clearly choice for its certified grade. Indeed, it is superior to many other PCGS graded MS-61 Liberty Seated half dollars that I have examined.

The consignment of the “Genoa Mill Collection” contains 1871-CC and 1873-CC silver dollars. An additional 1873-CC is from an unnamed consignment. The 1873-CC Liberty Seated Dollar is very rare in all grades and a large portion of the survivors are clearly non-gradable. Some coins that were or would have been thought to be non-gradable around twenty years ago have since been assigned numerical grades by PCGS or NGC.

Carson City Mint Morgan silver dollars constitute a matter entirely different from Liberty Seated dollars from this same mint. CC Morgans are common, though are extremely popular.

In this auction there is a gem 1878-CC Morgan and two prooflike 1879-CC dollars. There are also two 1889-CC Morgans, the key to the group. A PCGS graded MS-64 1893-CC in this session was dipped long ago and has naturally retoned with much russet color.

Trade dollars are a little different from silver dollars. From “The Genoa Mill Collection,” there will be offered 1877-CC and 1878-CC Trade dollars. The “Genoa Mill Collection” is not just silver. A PCGS graded “MS-62+” 1890-CC Eagle ($10 gold coin) is included. This is an extremely scarce coin overall and a condition rarity in ‘mint state’ grades.

There is a run of Carson City Mint double eagles (U.S. $20 gold coins) in this auction, some from “The Genoa Mill Collection” and others from “the Collection of a Southern Gentleman.” The PCGS graded AU-58 1873-CC is desirable. The PCGS graded MS-60 1890-CC double eagle is excellent for its certified grade.

Dahlonega Mint Quarter Eagles

This sale features an extremely extensive offering of Dahlonega Mint quarter eagles ($2½ gold coins). Most of these are in the “Georgia Peach Collection,” though there are some important pieces from at least one other consignment.

A rare and historically significant coin in this group is the “Georgia Peach Collection” 1839-D Classic Head quarter eagle. In February 2014, I figured that there survive fewer than 275 1839-D quarter eagles, in all grades. PCGS and NGC data include multiple counts of some of the same coins. The small marks and hairlines on the “Georgia Peach” coin are not terrible. Most interested collectors would probably find the PCGS grade of AU-58 to be fair enough.

The 1840-D Liberty Head quarter eagle is even rarer than the 1839-D Classic Head quarter eagle. Perhaps fewer than 85 exist.

1840odimeThe “Georgia Peach Collection” 1840-D is NGC graded AU-55 and CAC approved. It is more original than most other surviving Dahlonega Mint gold coins in general. This 1840-D is characterized by appealing tan-gold color.

The “Georgia Peach Collection” 1843-D (of the ‘Small D’ variety) is one of the more valuable coins in this consignment. It is PCGS graded MS-62 and CAC approved. The neat, crusty natural toning is especially likable.

The “Georgia Peach Collection” contains two 1845-D quarter eagles. The first has an illustrious pedigree. It was earlier in the epic collection of Harry Bass and later in the “Duke’s Creek Collection,” a legendary collection of Dahlonega gold coins.

The Peach 1851-D is one of the best coins in this consignment. It is NGC graded MS-62 and CAC approved. This is probably the fourth or fifth finest known of this date, which is very rare in all grades.

The 1855-D is extremely rare in all grades, maybe seventy exist, including more than sixteen that are non-gradable. The Peach 1855-D is almost certainly in the top ten. It is graded AU-55 by PCGS and is CAC approved. Although it has more than a few hairlines, its imperfections are less in magnitude than the imperfections that tend to characterize Dahlonega Mint quarter eagles. Undoubtedly, this coin will be eagerly sought after by those seeking to complete a set of Dahlonega Mint quarter eagles.

A second 1855-D in this session is not from the “Georgia Peach Collection.” It is PCGS graded AU-58. The just mentioned Peach 1855-D is more desirable.

For many series, grading coins in the AU-55 to MS-63 range is much more difficult than grading coins in higher or lower ranges, as the balancing of positive and negative factors is particularly complicated. Grading Proof quarter eagles is much less difficult.

Proof Quarter Eagles

It should be noted that there is an excellent run of Proof quarter eagles in this auction. One of the more appealing pieces is the PCGS certified ‘Proof-64 Deep Cameo’ 1876, which is CAC approved. The Proof 1884, 1890, 1893 and 1898 Liberty Head quarter eagles in this auction are also CAC approved, are very original and are especially attractive.

The NGC certified ‘Proof-64-Cameo’ and CAC approved 1906 Liberty Head is neat, too. A PCGS graded 66 and CAC approved, sandblast finish 1911 Indian Head quarter eagle is very pleasing and interesting.

©2015 Greg Reynolds

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